homepage logo

Good Samaritan gives Cape homeowner much to be thankful for

By Staff | Nov 27, 2019

Melissa Shannon has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving — though the morning before the holiday didn’t start off looking that way.

Shannon was awoken by the city of Cape Coral Code Enforcement Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to tell her the vinyl fencing enclosing the backyard of her northwest Cape home wasn’t “up to code.”

Enforcement told her a neighbor had complained about her fence — that it was missing a panel and was showing mold on the outside.

Shannon, currently on disability and under the weather, was unable to put in the labor, nor did she have the tools necessary, to power wash the side of her fence and replace the panel.

She reached out for help on the Cape Coral Forum Facebook group, and what happened next just goes to show that kind and selfless acts still happen today.

Jason Hessler, owner of If Walls Could Talk Painting, LLC, told Shannon he would come out and take care of her fence for her — only requesting $10 in gas money it would take to get out to her and power up the equipment.

“Jason stepped up,” Shannon said. “It makes me feel good that there’s still good people in the community paying it forward and actually helping out right before Thanksgiving.”

Hessler, who saw Shannon’s post in the group, said he was more than happy to come help Shannon on a slower day before the holiday.

“I saw that she needed help,” Hessler said. “I’m a helper. I figured I’d come out and give her a hand.”

Hessler treated the fence with a bleach, water and soap mixture before power washing the dirt and mold away. He also replaced the missing fence panel for Shannon and power washed the inside of her fence as well.

“Everything that I have, I’ve worked for and I know how it is, so, I figure if someone needs some help, I got the time do it,” Hessler said. “If I was in that position, I hope that someone would do that for me.

“I’m just grateful for Jason coming out, helping me out,” Shannon said. “I’m going to get my fence in line and up to code. I didn’t even know it was against code for it to be dirty, so, it’s a learning process.”

Code Enforcement told Shannon she would have 10 days to get her missing panel put back up, the outside of her fence cleaned and treat the weeds in the surrounding area.

“They didn’t give me anything in writing, it was just verbal,” Shannon said.

The city confirmed the verbal warning and stated that such warnings are entered into the Code case tracking system.

“A verbal warning was issued to the property owner today due to the missing section of fence and the excessive mold on the fence,” city spokesperson Maureen Buice said via email. “The property owner informed the Code officers that she is having the fence cleaned and will have the missing panel replaced.

Violations include 9-16b and International Property Maintenance Code 304., she added.

Provision 9-16b of the city’s Health and Sanitation Code states: “(b) Dangerous buildings. To allow, suffer or permit any building or structure which by act of God, fire, decay or other cause has or may become structurally dangerous, unsafe, dilapidated or in an unsanitary condition without forthwith doing and performing all things necessary to cause such building or structure to be reconstructed, restored, torn down or removed in conformity with applicable laws or regulations of the city which may now or hereafter be applicable in respect thereto;”

Shannon has lived in the home for 10 years and said she’s never heard any complaints about her fence.

Other than saying it was a neighbor, Code Enforcement said they could not tell her who called them about her fence.

Shannon said she wishes they would have knocked on her door before calling the city.

“I would have at least thought the neighbors would come and speak (to me) and ask if I could fix that up or if I needed any help or anything,” Shannon said.

Shannon said she received a $200 quote on the cost of having her fence cleaned and washed. Hessler stepped up as a Good Samaritan, saving her from the city and a large expense — something Shannon is certainly thankful for this Thanksgiving.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj